LECTURE 3: Strategy and Method of Discipleship by Rev. Tristan
We have a cause to work on. We have a mission from Christ. Matt 28:18-
20. Paul spent time reasoning and persuading people in week after
week. We actually have to go out and make disciples of other men.
Donít do it in a disingenuous (fake) way; rather make disciples of men
as the Lord opens the door. We have lots of reasons to delay
evangelism. Some are asking ďWhat am I going to say?Ē How can I
present the truths of scripture to the unbelieverís mind? How do I
answer an educated unbeliever? Where do we begin to display our faith
to others? We need to invest time and effort to learn how to
effectively address the mind of the unbeliever. We need evangelistic
zeal. There are too many of us who donít really care to go out and
evangelize. If there was anyone with good reason to give up the vision
for discipling the church, it was the apostle Paul. He had many
significant reasons to give up and to do something easier.
Letís put ourselves in Paulís shoes as he entered Corinth. Earlier he
had to flee Thesolonica in fear for his life (Acts 17:10). Jews are
following him in an effort to kill him. The Jews were using the Roman
system to oppress the Christian mission work. They were enduring this
kind of persecution and yet continued in the Lordís commission. Paul
entered Athens the centre of philosophy Ė unbelieving ďwisdom.Ē He
begins to reason with them. For the Athenians (who were dualists) the
ideal state would definitely NOT be restoration to a resurrected body.
So they repudiated the notion of God appearing as man in a body.
Nevertheless, Paul proclaims the truth of Jesus boldly.
Paul traveled to Corinth from Athens (Acts 18:2). Paul must have been
repulsed by the paganism, debauchery, and unbelief of the Corinth.
However, Paul stayed there and worked and preached. His consistent
strategy is to establish a core group of people with which to work.
This Jew Aquila had a similar background with Paul as a tent maker.
Both traveled a great deal. Both were strangers in Corinth with a
common cause. Often when we pray to the Lord to give us opportunities
for evangelism, he provides us partners in the work. Pray, Lord give us
opportunity. Pray for a core group of like-minded believers to work
with. Establish a beacon head for God. Whether we are called to be
tentmakers, or whether we are pastors, we are all called to evangelize.
The purpose of the core group is not that it can exist as a little
entity all to itself. The purpose of mission groups is to bring people
in, not to keep people out. We need to make effort to bring people of
non-Christian background to these core groups.
We are growing internally. Training children in the fear of God is an
important way to fill the earth with God-fearing people. But in our
Reformed churches the prime-directive of evangelism is often neglected.
Many who embrace a philosophy of death will eventually kill themselves
off. Eventually a faithful church will embrace principles of dominion
(i.e., life). Thus it will expect to grow and expand and fill the
earth. Jesus is Saviour of all the nations. But North American
Reformed churches are almost becoming irrelevant. We have all the silly
little disputes. We a virtually get up on arms over whether we should
homeschool, or Christian school. (digression: homeschooling is a very
good way to disciple your children. But it is not an issue of orthodoxy
that you train your Children at home, over a Christian School). Paulís
group at Corinth had ministry projects. Our groupsí purpose today, is
to bring in the people out there. Make that your project. Paul was an
apostle, he was particularly called by God to do this work. Establish a
core group of people and begin to do simple, but effective work.
We generally see our own kind when we attend a Reformed church. When
did you last see a non-Christian grace the doors of your church? Were
you prepared when they arrived to disciple them in worship and obedience
to God? Paul reasoned every day on the Sabbath and reasoned with both
Jews and Greeks. He was afraid; he is speaking from the heart, even as
an Apostle. There is nothing you need more than Jesus Christ. Some
donít want Jesus. That is an honest statement. But without Him there
is no hope for you. All the money and pleasure you may have will be
nothing for you on the day of judgment. God will call the elect, but
never forget that the method of the call is the hearing of the Word
preached. There are elect persons out there who are waiting to hear the
call. You donít need to know a lot of philosophy. All you need to
know is that people are dead in sin, and going to hell, therefore they
need Jesus Christ. Paul is saying, I didnít use trickery (sophistry)
in the presentation of the gospel. He hit the people with the basic
truths of the gospel. He didnít try to get people impressed with his
own speaking ability. We are told in Acts 18:4 that he reasoned in the
synagogue. He gave a reasoned defense of the gospel, he propounded the
truth. He didnít offer nice little stories, or suggestions. The faith
is reasonable, and defensible. It is more than a blind, near-sighted,
sentimental belief. It is real, true and reasonable. Every argument
coming your way objecting to the truth can be answered with the truth.
Donít tell them your experience. Respond to unbelievers with the truth.
What are the reasons you donít get out there?
The Lord encourages Paul, ďDo not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not
be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm
you, because I have many people in this city.Ē Acts 18:9,10
Note: Next year we plan to continue the series on evangelism and
eschatology. How does you view of eschatology influence your disciple
making? Donít think the church in North America characterizes the
church world-wide. The future of the church, and the kingdom of God in
history, is bright.